The Old Man, the Gestapo, and the Nursing Home
I went to visit The Old Man last Saturday at the local Gestapo-run rest home for retired Nazis. Most people probably cringe at the thought of visiting a place with a large group of the half-dead. I suppose that there’s something eerily comforting about the smell of death and lunchtime mashed potatoes.
I wheeled The Old Man from the dining room to a small community room. It had a little LCD TV hanging on the wall and a couple of chairs with one of those hospital-type TV tray on wheels that you can raise or lower. Sitting on one of the chairs was a lone pink balloon. I just found it funny that this pink balloon was sitting on the chair for some reason.
The room had a few windows in it. One was cracked open enough to let a nice cool breeze in to wind through the stale air of the building. The room had a view of the back courtyard. There were power lines off in the distance and the yard was surrounded by a chain-link fence. The fence and the power lines made it resemble a German WWII POW camp. We imagined an SS guard holding an MP40 patrolling the grounds with a large German Shepherd.
The Old Man recounted the stories of his youth that we’ve all heard thousands of times in the past few years. It’s really alright, I don’t mind. He doesn’t have Alzheimer’s or anything. He’s just old. How many people do you know in their 30s who tell you the same story every time that they see you?
The memory lane monotony was broken up by a girl starting to vacuum the room. She was young and relatively pretty. She had on hospital scrubs and a flower print shirt. Now The Old Man is never one to not hit on women-no matter what age or whatever the circumstance. The Old Man watched her vacuum intently. I imagined her using the Oreck like a stripper pole. The Old Man taking out a wad of singles and stuffing some into the elastic waistband of the green scrubs, Girls, Girls, Girls blasting in the background.
After the vacuuming chick was done, I got The Old Man some coffee and brought him back to his room. I helped him to his creaky old bed and he sat back with a thud. I spoke to his disheveled roommate without bottom teeth. He expressed a desire that his son would visit him. He trailed off in an unintelligible murmur when I asked where his son lived.
As I made my way through the halls of mumbling wheelchair-bound old people upon leaving the facility, I was swept by an overwhelming sense of dread. Most of us will end up at a place like this. It’s all right, I guess. They keep it at a warm temperature. They fill you with food. It’s easy to drift away-fast asleep in your bed. However frequent or infrequent visits from loved ones are, it must become a blur of past and present memories.
Cheers to The Old Man. Ogler of vacuuming nurse strippers.